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HELENA — Helena High distance runner Kylie Hartnett chose to defy the logic of front-running and didn't suffer the consequences of her early lead at the Class AA Western Divisional track meet.

Hartnett, a freshman, shattered the Bengals school record held by Leah Esposito, who became an NAIA All-American runner at Carroll College, by nearly six seconds.

She recorded a time of 11 minutes, 11.04 seconds to capture first place in the 3,200 meters. Her early lead, however, caused Helena coach Sheila Williams to be concerned about her fast pace.

"You know it's funny, at the start of the race, I was like 'Oh My God,' and I was a little concerned (about her pace)," Williams said.

Hartnett's dominance wasn't a surprise to Williams, but her time was.

"I don't think she surprised me, she is always good to go, but the way she dominated the meet was impressive," Williams admitted.

Hartnett wasn't the only Helena athlete who enjoyed success in the rain-soaked running events. Odessa Zentz didn't let a rain-drenched day prevent her from being dominant.

Zentz, another Helena freshman, finished first in the 800, recording a time of 2:16.88 and beating Brooke Stayner of Missoula Sentinel by seven seconds.

Glacier's Aubry Grame and Kinzie Peterson experienced success in the 300-meter hurdles. Grame placed first in 47.68 and Peterson took second with a time of 47.77.

Peterson was a surprise, according to Wolfpack girls coach Jerry Boschee.

"I thought she was going to be 10th or 11th, and when she was on the last bubble it was surprising," Boschee said.

Glacier's Mya Mcneely captured first in the shot put, recording a distance of 38 feet, 7.25 inches.

Missoula Sentinel's Ashley McElmurry finished first in the long jump, recording a cumulative distance of 17-4.25. Hellgate's Piper Pfister finished first in the javelin at 122-04.

Capital's all-time school record holding 4x100 relay team placed first with a time of 49.33. The relay team consists of Audrey Bloomquist, Melissa Moreni, Sydney Sheridan and Leigha Carter.

Bruins coach Dick McMahon said he felt his team braved the elements well. The consistent downpour of spring rain continued throughout the meet, something McMahon said he felt his team overcame.

Capital now qualified for 13 of the 17 events at the Class AA state meet. 

"Under the conditions, our kids did great," McMahon said. "All of the athletes, not just the Helena kids, did a great job of getting out there and competing under some difficult conditions. They didn't let that affect them." 

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Jason Blasco is the lead prep sports reporter for the Helena Indepedent-Record and a sports reporter for the 406mtsports.com network.

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